Queen Elizabeth arrived at a London flower show Monday in a tricked out $78,000 golf buggy, complete with reclining leather seats and an onboard mini-fridge.
The Daily Beast understands that Her Majesty took possession of the deluxe four-seater vehicle, which looks set to be dubbed the Queenmobile, some weeks ago. However, the afternoon visit to the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show represented its first official outing.
The queen beamed widely from its forward facing passenger seat, as delighted as if she were rolling up in her more familiar Rolls Royce. She was driven around several exhibits by a liveried footman and did not leave the cart.
The video showed her smiling and chatting with exhibitors as she shaded her eyes from the afternoon sun.
The Daily Beast has exclusively reported that Queen Elizabeth is regularly using a wheelchair at home at Windsor Castle, although her office has refused to confirm this and she has appeared determined not to be photographed in one, apparently after being upset by the fact that the last -ever photographed images of her sister Margaret showed her looking haggard and weak in a wheelchair.
There have been consistent rumors that the queen had purchased the luxury electric golf cart, built by Danish firm Garia, which has an on-board mini fridge, tablet screens, a bluetooth music system and 14-inch alloy wheels.
The reports were first made by British tabloid the sun.
A source told the paper: “The cart is a new addition to the castle, and they all think it’s a great idea… it’s certainly fit for a queen and hopefully it will help her fulfill her engagements.
“Everyone wants her to carry on for as long as possible being seen by the public. I’m sure the queen would rather walk to events and carry on as normal, but she is struggling at the moment.”
Although she has been seen in a golf buggy before—in 2011 and 2013—Monday’s appearance in the pimped ride marks a seminal moment in the queen’s public acceptance of the limitations of her age.
Many will now hope that the queen will concede to regularly accepting mobility assistance enabling her to attend more events, including key moments of the upcoming platinum jubilee celebrations.
The queen is the boss of the Royal Horticultural Society, which hosts the flower show, and organizers had remained hopeful she would attend, despite the palace saying a decision would only be made at the last minute.
Sue Biggs, director of the Royal Horticultural Society, had earlier told the BBC: “We hope she’s going to be well enough to be able to come and see us today, and we look forward to seeing her…this afternoon.”
The queen, 96, has been troubled by ill health recent months which the palace has characterized in mobility problems as “episodic.”
However, hopes that she will be well enough to attend key events of the jubilee celebrations, due to start in just 10 days, will have been raised by Monday’s appearance, and the fact that last week she made two other public appearances.